I sure loves me some sun jars!  They incorporate several of my favorite things to mess around with:  LEDs, Solar panels, hot glue, man it's all there and they look great to boot!

However, there is one big fat problem:  the sun!  When it's dark out, oftentimes the places I'd really like to have a little extra light are just the spots you can't leave a sun jar due to lack of direct exposure to sunlight. 

The obvious solution to this dilemma is to separate the solar panel from the sun jar.  I extrapolated this a bit further and realized that the only thing you actually need in the jar is the LED, and since you don't have to cram all the other electronics in there, you don't have to stay with the classic sun jar shape.

With this in mind, I combed craigslist for some suitably shaped glass blocks, went to Home Depot for the appropriate solar light, stocked up on speaker wire and came up with the Solar Powered Walkway!

***UPDATE 5/5/10:  If you build this project yourself, or something similar, post some pictures and I'll send you a patch!***

****UPDATE 1-1-11
If you are the first person to post a picture of your completed light-up walkway to the comments, I've got a 3 month pro membership to instructables that's all yours!

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I have a suggestion for waterproofing the connections. They make plastic shrinkwrap sleeves for waterproofing electric connections. Just slide tube over wire BEFORE soldering them together. After soldered just use hairdryer to shrink the cover and it will be waterproof. It also will not react with the solder or wire as it is meant for electrical connections. Hope this helps everyone.

depotdevoid (author)  gwendolyn.gettemy1 month ago

Great suggestion, I'll flag this to the top of the list!

MitchB21 month ago

Vert nice! Thank you for the idea!

I love, love this idea! Just have to find time and stuff to get er done! LOL

cagstorm3 months ago

Am I the only one who now has Billie Jean stuck in my head?

Cool walkway BTW!

DeniseG2 cagstorm2 months ago

I got Alien Ant Farm's version of Smooth Criminal lol

mchambers5 made it!2 months ago

Finally finished my variation of the walkway. I used 2x2 for the framing, redwood plywood for the base and plexiglass for the top. I mounted the LED lights in a hole I drilled in the base and mounted the panel on a tortoise shelter I had built earlier this year. The lights are on the initial charge of the batteries, so tomorrow will be the first day of solar charging.


I totally forgot to take pics before I actually "planted" them.

andreinst made it!3 months ago

Hello. I saw your instructable and decided to make my own. I added some photos. You can see that I made work the led inside the glass brick but also the original one from the solar lamp. I also used white gravel, I think it's nicer like this. I don't have very explicit photos because I just wanted to try and see if I can do it. Now that I made it work I will do at least 6 more.

depotdevoid (author)  andreinst3 months ago

Hooray hooray! The first completed "I made it!" of my walkway! I can't wait to see the completed version, but in the mean time, a digital patch and a pro membership are on their way!

Thank you very much! :) Im planing to finish this project the next week. Anyway, I will come back with more photos and explications. I also was thinking that some of this glass bricks can be part of a child's room wall and at night you can have there some light. Or even around the house. Many ideas in my head right now. When I will do something I will post an let you know. Thank you again.

Andrei from Romania :)

ovation63 months ago

This is really an excersise of thinking outside of the box. What a wonderful idea and I may attempt this myself. As an artist I can appreciate this from an artistic viewpoint.

Thanks for sharing and wish me luck when I get to trying myselt

Dale Augustson

Springfield, MO

depotdevoid (author)  ovation63 months ago

Good luck indeed! I can't wait to see the results!

kneeonhigh3 months ago
they aren't discontinued just special order.
jbowman-23 months ago

You can buy predrilled blocks with a hole in the side, they are a good size hole but still easily sealed. They also come in a smaller size and a half block for using around flower beds and the like. Hobby Lobby carries them.

Also, you could add a decorative reflective foil inside thru the hole, or paint a reflective paint on the backsiide to increase your light output.

depotdevoid (author)  jbowman-23 months ago

I've seen those pre-drilled blocks, and they would definitely be cool for different permutations of this project! The one downside is they're pretty expensive. If I wanted to redo this but actually put something inside the blocks, I'd pick them up used (as I did before), and get a set of glass boring bits from harbor freight.

Menard's ran the kind with a predrilled hole and plastic cap around christmas time last year for like $2 a pc.

mchambers53 months ago

About to start up this project this weekend. The Lowes and the Home Depot both discontinued the 8x8x4 glass blocks! I have improvised and will be creating blocks using a plywood base, a 2x2 frame and a plexiglass top. I ended up selecting this as my Solar/LED source :

I took the advice of the reviewer and ordered separate 2800 mAh AA batteries.

depotdevoid (author)  mchambers53 months ago
Hey, that looks like an awesome alternative! I'd love to see the result!

Don't forget to check craigslist to see if someone in your area has some of those bricks used.
BrockGrimes3 months ago

You can get a cheapy LED light at an auto store that plugs in the lighter port, It'll have a module that makes the lights change color (if you have color change leds) or blink with music you can tie into this. Also if you want to go powered instead of solar, a computer power supply has 12v, 7v, and 5v connectors. If you get the micro or mini LED christmas lights you can use the control module to make the blocks twinkle at night.

depotdevoid (author)  BrockGrimes3 months ago

Great ideas! I'd love to see your version!

tswill23 months ago

You mentioned waterproofing the connections with silicone, and I recommend that you consider Goop or epoxy instead. Silicone releases acetic acid during cure and I have seen it attack solder and result in loose connections!


depotdevoid (author)  tswill23 months ago

Thanks for the heads up, I wasn't aware of that!

Use GE Silicone II, I have checked multiple sources and It is safe....

read here


rnorton23 months ago

i love this for several reasons, the led's, the solar, and the blocks i love them and love the hundreds of uses. one other thing i love about the idea is most of the yard lighting i see get tore up from lawnmowers and knocked around over time this takes care of that. i cant wait to show my gf,. thanks man.

depotdevoid (author)  rnorton23 months ago

Right on, thanks! If you make your own version, show me some pics!

Silicone will only attack the surface. If it's a good solder joint to begin with, it will be fine. Just keep it away from exposed copper and component leads on circuit boards. The speaker wires will definitely need something. They are designed for indoor use only and any moisture will attack them, even in places where you won't think it will like inside the solar panel. I have even seen them corrode on the inside, right in the middle of a run or even just sitting on the shelf. Beware of cheap speaker wire.

Interesting, I'll make a note in the instructable!

pattiemelt3 months ago

Great 'ible - I plan to make these for my yard as soon as I get my house.

If you're worried about the connection & bulb being outside the blocks, you can drill into the blocks using a glass/tile bit then insert the bulb & wire inside. Seal the hole with silicone or Goop. Or you can purchase the blocks already drilled at craft supply stores like Hobby Lobby or Michael's. To protect the wiring that runs from the solar panel to the blocks, you can run it through buried PVC conduit (the gray stuff). It takes a little more digging, but might be worth it if you're worried about corrosion. You can get regular low-voltage wire that is made for outdoor use, too.

depotdevoid (author)  pattiemelt3 months ago

Thanks for the suggestions, I'm pinning this one to the top!

jmans13 months ago

You can try 7 color changing leds ,Maybe try some tin foil to reflect more light up. Try not to

crumple the foil to much the smoother it is, the better itll work.

depotdevoid (author)  jmans13 months ago

Cool ideas!

tugiid3 months ago

Good jobs :)

depotdevoid (author)  tugiid3 months ago
gravityisweak4 months ago

I realize this is a bit old now but I saw it on the front page of the site. (not sure how that works) Anyway, I was curious if anyone ever got the patch or the 3 month pro for posting their own versions? This is a great instructable and now reminds me of SOLAR FREAKIN ROADWAYS!

depotdevoid (author)  gravityisweak4 months ago

Thanks, glad you like my project! It is old, but the mods will occasionally re-feature an instructable that's drawn a lot of views (this one has always had lots of pull from other websites that link back to instructables).

In answer to your question: no! In the four and a half years since I posted this, not a single person has shown me a picture of their finished pathway! I've given out a couple of patches for new suggestions for solar lights, but that's it. I'd love to see yours if you make one!

Challenge Accepted!

Lyattaw6 months ago

maybe I am not understanding this project completely but are you gluing/sealing a light bulb that you get with the solar panel kit you buy to the side of the glass blocks? Or are you breaking open the glass blocks and putting the light bulbs inside the glass blocks?

Lyattaw Lyattaw6 months ago


depotdevoid (author)  Lyattaw6 months ago

I am gluing the bulb to the side of the block, but I don't use the one that comes with the solar panel kit. Those are almost always white or yellow, so I got some other colors and used those instead.

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